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In the old Ecuamex spot in Woodside

Justpaula May 9, 2009 12:18 AM

So I went to the library today and made plans, after my book findings, to meet my husband for a drink at a bar on Roosevelt afterwards - he is a Union Electrician on a job in LIC which gets him back to our Woodside nabe by 2:30pm. I walk out of the library and I see one of those restaurant statues standing there with his thumb up outside of what has been a dead spot for quite some time! And after a few years here I was excited to see that a new restaurant has moved in to the old Ecuamex spot. For those of you wondering, this in on the corner of Roosevelt and 55th Street., I just noticed it today, and have not eaten there yet, so i cannot give a review, but the posted menu seems to be standard Mexican grub, which seems a-okay to me! I plan to give it a try soon, but want to put the word out in the meanwhile to others who may want to give it a shot. I think it is called La Copanita or something like that. If any of y'all make it there, I would love to hear your feedback!

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  1. Joe MacBu RE: Justpaula May 9, 2009 10:29 PM

    I'm not exactly sure what the deal is with this place. They've kept the same logo (with the woman) and sign that EcuaMex had, but just changed the name. One interesting thing that I had noted about 6 months ago was that the famous Super Taco truck (of Broadway and 96th) had started to park in the restaurant's lot. The truck also used the same logo.

    The inside of the new place looks the same as the old, which I think is a big reason that no one ever went to EcuaMex. Potential customers thought that it was too ugly, or dark or too fancy for the location (due to table cloths and the high prices). That tacky Italian chef statue is also a holdover from the former place.

    Despite the similarities, I've been told that this is indeed a new place with new owners. Yep, the same owners of the Super Taco truck. In fact, the menu available inside is actually the menu for the truck. If they're honoring the menu and prices at the restaurant, I think it might stand a chance. Daily specials for $7, and the usual tacos, cemitas, etc for $3-6. (I didn't try anything because I was stuffed from a fabulous meal at Southern Spice).

    In case the owners happen to get a glimpse of this, here are my suggestions so that they don't shut down in 6 months like EcuaMex did. Keep the prices low (EcuaMex kept raising their prices into the high teens, to try to compensate for a lack of customers - terrible idea). Get rid of that stupid statute; you're not a cheesy Italian-American restaurant. Spend a little bit of money and get creative with the setting. There's that totally unused outdoor area that could be made into a decent seating area for the summer. It'd make the place more inviting and let passersby know that's you're a functioning restaurant. Get some better lighting, because I usually can't tell whether the place is open or closed.

    It's amazing to me how all these people have money to open restaurants in this city, but completely lack any creative ideas to make it successful. While the food was decent, EcuaMex had maybe 4 customers max per day and did absolutely nothing to try to figure out what the heck could be changed (aside from raising prices). I really hope these new guys figure it out. An empty location does nothing for the neighborhood.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joe MacBu
      Up With Olives RE: Joe MacBu May 12, 2009 09:34 AM

      Wow, I didn't know Ecuamex ever opened! I saw months of planning, then zilch. Very interesting.

      1. re: Up With Olives
        Joe MacBu RE: Up With Olives May 12, 2009 11:38 AM


        Anyway, I went in last night and it looks exactly the same as before. They haven't spent a dime on changing the place. Same tablecloths, broken register, etc. Well, I did notice new mirrors etched with the Super Taco truck.

        I suggested adding some outdoor seating, etc. They didn't seem to care. They just looked dejected that I was their only customer of the day. But they said it was okay since they've only been open 1 week. They're thinking of making business cards to get more customers. It's feeling like deja vu.

        Now the good news. I tried the goat taco and pork mole tamal (both para llevar since I hate the interior). They were both very good. The tortilla could have been a bit fresher, but the meat was tender and had good goat flavor. The tamal was solid, though it could have used a little more filling. The place is cheap. I'm going back for the $7 daily specials.

        Woodside/Sunnyside hounds should give it a shot and maybe it'll survive.

      2. re: Joe MacBu
        Joe MacBu RE: Joe MacBu May 15, 2009 11:55 PM

        The tongue is very tender and seared on the outside. That and the goat already makes this place worthwhile. Plus, if business picks up, they plan on staying open until midnight or so.

      3. w
        Widmark RE: Justpaula May 18, 2009 10:14 AM

        I went and really enjoyed it. The problems? It was empty and way to brightly lit, they can definitely use a little re-decorating. But beyond that, the food was very good. The chips were fresh, the salsa great. I got a few tacos, carnitas, pastor and pollo. I usually order chicken as a baseline test, just to see how it's done and in case I find other tacos too gristly (hey, it happens). Instead of the bland chunks of white meat that get drowned in guac sauce like from many of the trucks and carts, this chicken was moist and well-seasoned. I actually preferred it to the Carnitas. When I go back I'll definitely try the Tinga. The pastor was very good as well, with little chunks of pineapple. Not quite as strong a flavor as De Mole's pastor, which I love, but moister.

        Also tried a burrito, which had no meat as it was for a vegetarian, and it was still great, and I'm sure will be better with some of that tinga or carnitas or whatever inside.

        I'm happy to have a place closer than De Mole or Coatzingo and I've had mixed experiences with some of the other local options, like the one on 61st across from the post office.

        They didn't have table-cloths, so it was more casual, which was nice. Dimming the lights a bit would go a long way as well.

        1. Joe MacBu RE: Justpaula Jul 15, 2009 06:57 PM


          La Copenita
          4108 55th St, Queens, NY 11377

          1. Joe MacBu RE: Justpaula Nov 1, 2009 10:05 AM

            Unfortunate, but no surprise.
            La Copenita has bit the dust within 6 months of opening.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Joe MacBu
              david sprague RE: Joe MacBu Nov 1, 2009 12:41 PM

              agreed, too bad and not surprising. the place was good enough that, if i were within walking distance, i probably would've hit it up fairly often. but coming from jackson hts, not so much.

              1. re: david sprague
                Widmark RE: david sprague Nov 2, 2009 06:14 AM

                They made zero effort. It didn't look like they wanted people to eat there. I walked in and had to wait forever before even seeing a person. The first time I called for delivery the guy got lost, and I live around the corner. The second time I called for delivery they put somebody else on then told me they don't do delivery. Third time they said something in spanish then hung up. Too bad because the food was good!

                1. re: Widmark
                  squid kun RE: Widmark Nov 2, 2009 06:27 PM

                  Are they out of there completely or did they just close the dining area? The place seemed to exist mainly as a mother kitchen for the two taco trucks.

                  I agree they seemed indifferent to walk-in business. Not unfriendly, the couple times I went - in fact the guy was very nice - just not prepared for actual people walking in the door and ordering food.

                  1. re: squid kun
                    el jefe RE: squid kun Nov 3, 2009 11:44 AM

                    There's a big "For Sale" sign on the building.

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